70 Shielded and Bipolar

Tuesday July 14, 2020

Shielded from Covid 19 is like wearing a mental anorak that leaks when the rain is heavy. You gradually get wet mentally.

It started well. Lots of letters saying I was shielded. A kind lady delivered a food parcel. 3 small tins of tropical fruits. I hate the sweetness of tinned fruit. It is a poor substitute for fresh fruit eaten in the tropics. Another lady rings and offers milk and bread. A list is written of all the tasks to be completed. The major project is to paint the large kitchen. I have all the materials to complete the task. I move a large table out and commence rubbing down. But my nasty neighbour sloth arrives. No further action has been taken after 10 weeks. Sloth enters slowly.

The first few weeks he is hardly noticed. The family bring food parcels twice a week. There is chat when the parcel arrives. The wife complains about the husband and vice a versa. I nod and keep silent. But I have no other direct human contact. Video conferencing is not the same.

For the last 1542 days I have rigorously measured my mood on Moodscope. 20 questions give a scale from 0 to 100. Zero is suicidal and a 100 jumping off the ceiling. My average score is 54% slightly above normal. But now my score is well below 50% every day. I have watched Game of Thrones and Vikings. The routine of the day is lost. The TV becomes my social contact. Tears of loneliness appear. I start video conferencing. But what I am missing is the social contact. Seeing whites of their eyes. I try to write a poem about it:

I struggle with myself.

My thoughts. My self-love. My competitive nature.

It’s OK not to be OK

I was made to be the best version of myself.

Not my best version of someone else. Yet, we all try to be someone else.

I need to embrace myself. Not anyone else.

Love myself. Be strong the way I was made to be. Grow the way I know I can.

I won't be you. Or her. Or him.

But I can be me. And that's way better.

Love yourself. Because if you can't love yourself, how the hell will you love someone else?

My 70th birthday passes. Video conference affair - tears. But my son brings a hamper of exotic food. It helps my growing girth with wholesome things. The oven ready chips are dropped. But it starts the light shining in me.

Things have changed. Mental rain no longer passes thru’ the anorak. The change in shielding restrictions allows me to visit my allotment. Direct social contact with the Bolsheviks who put the world to rights over a thermos of tea.

I am resigned to being shielded until a vaccine is found. I have lived thru’ the storm and learnt from the experience.

A Moodscope member.

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